According to one estimate, Saanich residents use 200 single-use plastic bags each year. Saanich’s proposed ban of single-use plastic bags would come into effect at the end of 2019 with businesses granted a grace period until the middle of 2020. (Black Press file photo)

Each Saanich resident uses 200 single-use plastic bags a year, report estimates

Second Capital Region municipality looks to join plastic bag ban

Each resident of Saanich (official pop: 114,145) uses about 200 single-use plastic bags per year, according to a new report carrying details about Saanich’s proposed bylaw to ban such bags.

Victoria is so far the only community in the region that bans them and Saanich has followed the process. Monday, council plans to review and potentially give first and second reading to the required bylaw to ban the bags.

Saanich’s ban would come into effect by the end of 2019 with businesses receiving a grace period until June 2020 to hand out remaining bags. Businesses in Saanich hand out single-use plastic bags worth $22.8 million each year, according to an estimate in the report by Brent Reems, director of building, bylaw, licensing and legal services.

RELATED: Victoria first B.C. municipality to adopt plastic bag ban

RELATED: Plastic bags to be banned in Saanich by June 2020

Removing this volume of bags would save municipal resources, Reems said.

“While it is difficult to estimate the impact of removing plastic bags from the waste stream as they are most often mixed with other garbage and remain undetected, any reduction in waste materials assists with reduced garbage volume and pickup frequency,” he said.

Banning single-use plastic bags would also “reduce the risk of fouling up municipal parks and property and underground storm water and sewer systems” likely to be impacted by intense rainfall thanks to the region’s changing climate, said Reems.

While environmentalists have long lobbied for the proposed ban, citing the harmful effects of plastic bags on human and non-human life, Reems’ report strikes a distinct economic note in stressing the expected financial benefits of the ban.

RELATED: Saanich Monday to debate ban of single-use plastic bags

While some businesses have already taken steps to ban single-use bags, they continue to “create avoidable waste and its associated costs,” said Reems. The proposed ban would lower those costs, he said.

But the proposed ban could also require additional public resources in terms on enforcement, he warned. Saanich currently lacks the resource to enforce the proposed ban, without harming existing enforcement priorities, he said.

The basic fine for various violations of the proposed bylaw is $75 if paid within 30 days, $100 after that.

The bylaw prohibits businesses from selling or supplying customers with single-use plastic bags; prohibits businesses from supplying customers with reusable or paper bags free of charge (unless already used), and requires businesses to charge a minimum of 15 cents for a paper bag and $1 for a reusable bag, going up to 25 cents and $2 following a year-long transition period.

It also contains various exceptions for specific types of goods, such as fruit, vegetables and meat among others.

Coun. Susan Brice first proposed banning single-use plastic bags in September 2017. While these efforts gained steam through the fall of 2017, council voted in February 2018 to hold off with further action until after the Victoria bylaw had passed legal muster.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

West Shore resident, local officer encourages women to take control of their safety

Kris Greffard is posting short videos with safety tips for women using local trails and parks

Point Ellice House exhibit offers new lens into colonial history

The new ‘Politics of luxury’ display studies the wealthy O’Reilly family from several angles

Police and Indigenous communities pull together in 10-day canoe journey

Victoria Police Department, Ministry of Children and Family Development took part in Pulling Together Canoe Journey

Saanich Police receive another report of a cougar sighting

The big cat was spotted in the area near Saanich Road and Blanshard Street

Nearly a dozen coonhound puppies and their mother to reunite at Saanich park

Dogs’ former foster family initiated one-year reunion plans

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

How much do you know about the moon?

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, see how well you know space

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

UPDATE: West Kelowna fawn euthanized, not claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer has been euthanized after a suitable home was not found in time

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Most Read